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MARCH Customary Days & National Holidays

On this day customs

For all these annual days, national days,  customs much of them can be based on real events, calenders, seasonal changes, religion, history, myths and legends that have been intertwined, embellished and or celebrated and  repeated over the years .

But where did they originate and why? Sources from written texts, plays, journals, photos, archives, speeches, songs and  film, go towards explaining how some of the British customs started. Why do some of these dates  fall on different dates each year ? Whats the symbolism behind some of these days ? Are there similarities between cultures ? London is a multicultural cosmopolitan city are we more aware, inclusive? Have the old customs and traditions been forgotten? It would be nice to create a diversity patchwork of celebrations, whilst laying the foundations.

14th April 2018  PALM SUNDAY

On the 6th Sunday in Lent. Start of Easter week. Commemorates Jesus entering on a Donkey into Jerusalem, the people gathering to meet him carrying a palm branch. Christian celebration.

18th April 2019 Maundy Thursday

The day before Good Friday.

It is to symbolise part of the Bible after the Last Supper of the Passover Meal.  Gospel of John 13:4 . Where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples “I have given to you  an example that ye should do as I have done to you” The other message was  “ To love one another  as I have loved you”.

Maundy Thursday was also the eve when Jesus was betrayed by  Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. This enactment of foot washing ceremonies, later became custom for heads of churches to perform. This was then taken over by the monarch and progressed to the idea of giving to give to poor and elderly and deserving.  King John  1210 being the first king to take on this service by donating food, eating implements clothing to the poor.

In 1400 Henry the IV  time the number of recipients started to depend upon how many years the reigning monarch had been on the throne. The Tudors appear to have continued the tradition, which is still in place today. It was thought the King or Queen had healing powers. Queen Anne was the last monarch to have people contact her reign ended 1714. In 2014 Maundy Coin commemorated her 300th Anniversary of being a Sovereign.

But  it is less clear who gave foot washing the final boot, as it seemed to cease in the 18th C.

The message is still that the active Monarch gives Maundy gifts to the elderly now Maundy coins are given.

The Maundy coins were first given out in 1662 by King Charles the II. By 1670 they were date stamped.

The First 1952 Queen Elizabeth II Maundy service Pathe


In Modern times the Queen gives out two coloured purses that Yeoman carry on platters. In 2016 Queen Elizabeth II gave out Maundy Monday to 90 recipients. Recipients can also be citizens who have given service to the community and church. They were traditionally selected from a single diocese but have also been selected from different Uk locations in recent times.


The Red purse £5.50 made up for £3 for clothing, £1 for the redemption of the Sovereigns Gown, £1.50 in lieu of provisions. This could be in the form of a commemorative set of coins. For example in 2012 there was a £5 Diamond Jubilee commemorative going and a newly minted 50p coin.

The White purse has unique specially minted coins that are not like the circulated ones. They carry the original cameo of Queen Elizabeth II the 1953 Effigy by Mary Gillick. A Silver 4pence, 3 pence, 2 pence and 1 penny.

In 2018 the service will be held in St Georges Chapel Windsor.

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